CMS Releases Proposal for Stage 2 Requirements for Meaningful Use

February 22, 2012

In addition to an extension of the Stage 1 reporting period, providers can expect an increased focus on interoperability, quality reporting, and security.

Addressing a packed meeting room at the HIMSS12 Conference in Las Vegas, ONC director Farzad Mostashari announced that the proposed rules for Stage 2 of CMS’ “meaningful use” EHR incentive program were submitted to the Federal Register this morning and will go live sometime tomorrow. 

During the session, which kicked off at 9:45 a.m. PST, Mostashari and CMS health officials shared some of the key highlights of the proposal, including an extension of the Stage 1 reporting period to 2013.

“You’ll see a lot of predictability in what’s coming out in the rules,” Mostashari told the audience.

Here’s a glimpse of what else practices can expect from the forthcoming rules:

• An increased focus on interoperability and the use of health information exchanges (HIEs). “One of the main messages that will come out [the proposal] is, ‘here we come, interoperability and exchange.’ There’s going to be a push on patient engagement,” Mostashari said.
• An ease of some individual provider burdens. This means that if you have a practice with ten providers, you will not have to report separate quality measures for each individual provider. 
• An increased emphasis on encryption of data and security, including new requirements for vendors.
• A measure that calls for providing patients with the ability to view online, download, and transmit health information within four business days of the information being available to the provider.
• A menu-set objective related to imaging to encourage the sharing of medical images between organizations and patients.

A 60-day comment period will follow the release of the proposed rule. Elizabeth Holland, director of CMS’ HIT Initiatives Group, said CMS hopes to release the final rule sometime this summer.

We’ll keep you posted on additional updates.